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Inside NCR

Spill the beans on someone you admire

It lifts hearts everywhere to see, on television or in print, uplifting stories of goodness, beauty and truth. It’s a truism that bad news gets more publicity than good. Good news is out there, but sometimes it’s surprisingly hard to get it together.

For example, every reader of this paper must surely know one person who stands out in the local community or church enough to deserve public admiration. The evidence, though, shows people are slow to pay such tribute to those they admire, and it’s baffling.

When NCR launched our Keeping Faith feature a couple of years ago, it was greeted with much enthusiasm. Once a month, editor Teresa Malcolm focused on three people who were shining lights in one way or another: doing good, keeping faith, inspiring others and making a difference. People seemed to love those little features.

But the whole thing has been fizzling because, despite repeated requests, Malcolm has not been able to find people to profile.

Readers often tell us NCR makes heavy reading, and indeed the news is not always rosy. But Keeping Faith was a haven of good news. We need signs of hope, and they’re out there. So please take one more look. That admirable person might be your coworker, fellow parishioner or your mother.

Send suggestions (including phone number or other means of contacting your lucky person) to Teresa Malcolm, NCR, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City MO 64111; or better still, e-mail her at tmalcolm@natcath.org

An article by Retta Blaney in the Oct. 8 NCR brought back the genuine grief many felt that “Nothing Sacred,” one of the best things on television in many a year, had been cancelled. Worse still, it was cut short by panicky broadcasters at ABC television because they took the rantings of a small, self-serving element as representative of Catholic sentiment. This was not broadcasting’s finest hour.

We have been receiving constant queries about the fate and availability of the five episodes that were never aired. The show is owned by 20th Century Fox. Just as ABC bowed to pressure to shut down the series, popular demand might cause the owners to release the series, or at least that final four episodes, on videotape. Write your request to: 20th Century Fox Television, 2121 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 809, Los Angeles CA 90067; or FAX to (310) 369-8726; or phone at (310) 369-2733.

As one journalist who visited the NCR booth at the Call to Action conference commented, reporting on the annual convention is a bit like covering the circus. Some critics of CTA might take that as a delicious straight line, but this fellow meant it in the best sense: what to focus on amid such a rich variety of offerings?

Tom Roberts decided to lead off our coverage with a somewhat offbeat account about Srs. Theresa Kane and Jeannine Gramick, each of whom has a recent story that puts a new twist on their longstanding tussles with the Vatican (page 12). The stories were especially telling in the context of the national gathering of Call to Action reformers, showing a human side of the sisters’ conflicts with Rome and offering a model for exercising civility amid the conflicts of the contemporary church.

Roberts promises that more coverage of conference particulars and individual sessions will follow in the coming weeks.

The enthusiastic reaction to the NCR-Gallup survey in our Oct. 29 issue had people ordering so many extra copies that we went back to press and reprinted the report as a 16-page separate supplement, the size of a sheet of typing paper for easy handling and filing. The cost is $2 each by check or money order only (therefore, no credit cards and no phone calls). Orders should be mailed to NCR, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City MO 64111.

My e-mail address is farrellncr@aol.com

National Catholic Reporter, November 19, 1999